Where I grew up, ‘use your loaf’ was pretty much a state of being.

It was a phrase you heard to indicate someone missing the obvious.

Something that was apparent to anyone with a brain.

Something only a dope wouldn’t see coming.

Putting two and two together.

Working out what was most likely to happen before it happened.

All the clues are right in front of you.

You can see what’s likely to happen next.

You know where this is going.

Use your loaf.

If someone offers you something for nothing.

Use your loaf.

If someone asks you to follow them down an alley.

Use your loaf.

If several strangers offer you a lift.

Use your loaf.

So it sounds like ‘use your loaf’ is just about being suspicious, right?

Nope, it means thinking ahead.

Being capable of drawing a common-sense inference.

Use your loaf, in Buddhist terms, would simply mean awareness.

A state of being alive, and in tune with your environment.

An old lady gets on a crowded bus.

Use your loaf, she needs a seat.

A woman has a baby in a pushchair at the bottom of the steps.

Use your loaf, she needs a hand.

A bloke’s trying to get a heavy trolley into a building.

Use your loaf, hold the door open.

So it’s not just about suspicion.

It can be about politeness.

In fact it’s about anything that takes a basic level of thought.

‘Use your loaf’ became my default setting, growing up.

Anything less was just thick.

You’re saying, so what?

You’re saying that’s obvious.

Anyone and everyone knows that.

If that’s so, isn’t it strange that we see so little of it in our business.

Isn’t it strange that no one is encouraged to use their loaf?

In fact ‘using your loaf’ is seen as being irresponsible.

A bit of a loose cannon.

Running off making decisions on your own.

Without a lot of meetings.

Without a formal, written agreement.

Without several weeks of ‘research’.

Without several rounds of focus groups.

Without entire days of ‘ideation’.

Without a big thick document summarising the findings.

All of which eventually bring us back to the screamingly obvious.

Exactly what we could all have seen in the first place.


If we’d used our loaf.